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Onyx Site Closed Down

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Amgen’s purchase of Onyx now has the widely expected sequel: they’re closing down that site, and laying off 300 people.
Kyprolis is working out fine, and that’s all Amgen wanted. The only surprise, sadly, is that it took them this long.

7 comments on “Onyx Site Closed Down”

  1. Anchor says:

    ..The only surprise, sadly, is that it took them this long-Amgen’s mantra is better late than never!

  2. Anonymous says:

    At a time where everyone is fretting that pharma R&D has lost that “secret sauce” that can discover new drugs, it amazes me no end that successful companies are bought, plundered for existing discoveries, while their people and processes (who clearly have some handle on “secret sauce”) are summarily dismantled.
    In short, why buy a company – why not just buy their discovery assets, and leave the core (now flush with cash) ready to discover their next hit (or not)?
    Market failure of some type.

  3. johnnyboy says:

    @3: I know of a “biotech capitalist” who would argue that this actually exemplifies how beautifully the market is working… It’s all about the money, you see.

  4. ProfessorPlum says:

    There is nothing that the business world hates more than a well functioning discovery organization. They are killed immediately.

  5. Guest says:

    Always sad to see reaseach labs closed down as if they were just a waste of money, and good scientists having to find another home.
    Just wonder how many of these were actually from Proteolix, which is where Kyprolos (aka Carlfizomib) came from. I know they were also based in SF but not sure if they actually lost their job even earlier than today.
    I remember being in a Due Dil for another proteasome project from Onyx (not for Carlfizomib). Thety were saying how they could further improve some molecule if we wanted to, and I asked if the original chemists who knew the SAR were still around. The lead (Onyx) biologist replied that they were not there anymore (lost either at the aquisition by Onyx or even earlier) and that anyway the knowledge of medicinal chemists about their chemical series is largely overestimated and not important.
    So at least some of the damage actually predates today…

  6. tangent says:

    Yeah, I can’t get past Anonymous@2’s question. They paid for an organization with a track record of high ROI, so now they’re setting it on fire?
    The rational explanation is that they think it’s all luck, and the organization doesn’t have actual skill to lead to a positive expected ROI (over investing in financial markets). And everybody with money agrees it’s all luck, or somebody would have outbid Amgen.
    It’s not *new* that we don’t know how to make money in drug discovery, but damn it’s depressing to see it sharpened to this point. It’s not just “some people succeed but we don’t know how to replicate it”, it’s saying even the successes were just roulette-playing fools who happened to get lucky, and if people wised up there would be no new drugs.

  7. Anonymous BMS Researcher says:

    Quote without comment from somebody whose golden parachute is probably a little better than whatever severance package the scientists will get:
    “While I recognize this will be difficult news for our colleagues in Onyx, I want to extend my gratitude and appreciation for everything Onyx has achieved over the years in support of cancer patients. Consistent with our efforts to consolidate our geographic footprint, we expect to vacate our Onyx site.”

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